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Medical Dermatology

Moles

Moles can occur on the face and anywhere on the body, including the scalp, palms, and soles. These are usually harmless concentrations of pigment, and they tend to occur more frequently in fair skinned people. Moles can be flat or bumpy, light or dark in color, and they may or may not have hairs growing out of them.

Since some cancers form in pigmented skin, it’s important to get a complete professional skin examination at least once a year. In addition, it’s wise to examine your own skin monthly so you can detect any new or changing moles. Look for these ABC’s of suspicious moles: Asymmetry (one half doesn’t look like the other), Border (irregular border), Color (changing pigment or a very black color), Diameter (larger than a pencil eraser), Elevation (becoming raised).

Very few moles turn into cancer, but if you notice a new spot, or evolution in an existing one, have it examined by a dermatologist immediately.


In general, it’s a good idea to have your skin examined at least yearly by a dermatologist; and more frequently if you’ve had a lot of sun exposure, previous skin cancer, or a family history of skin cancer.

 
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